The Wizard of Oz (1939 film)

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer . Widely considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history , [5] it is the best-known and most commercially successful adaptation of Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz . [6] It stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale , Alongside Ray Bolger , Jack Haley , Bert Lahr , Frank Morgan , Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton, with Charley Grapewin , Pat Walshe and Clara Blandick , Terry (billed as Toto), and the Singer Midgets as the Munchkins . [7]

Notable for its use of Technicolor , fantasy storytelling, musical score, and memorable characters, it has become an icon of American popular culture. It was nominated for six Academy Awards , including Best Picture , but lost to Gone with the Wind . It Did win in two other categories, Including Best Original Song for ” Over the Rainbow ” and Best Original Score by Herbert Stothart . While the movie was considered a success on August 1939, it failed to generate profit for MGM, earning only $ 3,017,000, it has $ 2,777,000 budget, which has made it the most expensive production to date. [3] [8][9]

The 1956 broadcast television premiere of the film on the CBS network reintroduced the film to the public and eventually made the presentation an annual tradition, making it one of the best known movies in movie history. [6] The film was named the most-viewed motion picture on television syndication by the Library of Congress , which also included the film in its National Film Registry in its inaugural year in 1989. being “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant”. [10] It is also one of the few films on UNESCO ‘s Memory of the World Register .[11]

The Wizard of Oz is the source of many quotations in contemporary popular culture . It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming (who left production to take over the troubled Gone with the Wind production). Noel Langley , Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but uncredited contributions were made by others. The songs were written by Edgar “Yip” Harburg (lyrics) and Harold Arlen (music). The musical score and the incidental music were composed by Stothart.


The film begins in Kansas , which is depicted in a sepia tone . Dorothy Gale lives with her dog, Toto , on her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s farm. Toto gets in trouble with a mean neighbor, Miss Almira Gulch, when he cocks her. However, Dorothy’s family and the farmhands are all too busy to listen to her troubles. Miss Gulch produces an order from the sheriff allowing her to have Toto put down . She who wants to go to, but he escapes and returns to Dorothy who, fearing that Miss Gulch will return, decides to run away from home.

After some miles Dorothy and Toto encounter Professor Marvel, a kindly fortune teller who, realizing Dorothy has run away, uses her crystal ball to convince her that Aunt Em is ill. Dorothy breeds home just as a tornado approaches. Locked out of the storm cellar , she’s looking for a house, where a wind-blown window sash knocks her out. She awakens to the tornado has the house spinning into the sky. Outside the window during the flight, and an old lady knitting in a chair, two men rowing a boat, and finally Miss Gulch, who transforms into a cackling witch riding a broomstick.

Suddenly the house strikes the ground and all is quiet. As Dorothy opens the door to Technicolor – she and Toto have landed in Munchkinland , part of the Land of Oz . Glinda the Good Witch of the North and the Munchkins welcome her as their heroine – the house has landed on and killed the Wicked Witch of the East, leaving only her feet poking out from under. In the middle of the celebration, the Wicked Witch of the West arrives in a ball of smoke and fire to claim her sister’s ruby slippers, but Glinda transports them to Dorothy’s feet before the witch can get them. The witch swears revenge on Dorothy for her sister’s death. Glinda tells Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City , where the Wizard of Oz might be able to get her back home.

On her way, Dorothy meets and befriends a Scarecrow , who wants a brain, and invites him to join her on her journey. Eventually they come to an apple where they find Tin Man , who desires a heart. After they invite him to come along, the Witch appears and makes threats to them. Deep in the woods, they meet a Cowardly Lion, who is in need of courage and invites him to come along as well. After the Witch attempts to stop them using an enchanted poppy field, they finally reach the Emerald City. Inside, they are permitted to see the wizard, who appears to be a large disembodied head surrounded by fire. He agrees to grant their wishes when they bring him down to the West’s broomstick, implying they must kill her to get it.

On their way to the Witch’s castle, they pass through the Haunted Forest, while the Witch is watching their progress in her crystal ball. She sends her winged monkeysto attack them; they capture Dorothy and Toto. At the castle, the Witch is stymied by magic when she tries to get rid of the slippers off Dorothy’s feet, then remembers that she must be dead first. Toto escapes and leads the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion to the castle. After winkie guards, they walk inside wearing the stolen guards’ uniforms and free her, but the Witch discovers and traps them. The Scarecrow provides a distraction and they attempt to escape, being chased by the Witch and her guards, but are finally surrounded. The Witch sets fire to the Scarecrow and Dorothy puts it out with a bucket of water and unpublished melts and kills the water splashes on her. The guards rejoice that she is dead and give Dorothy the charred broomstick in gratitude.

Back at the Emerald City, they bring the broomstick to the Wizard. But when they ask him to keep his promises, the Wizard delays their frustration. During the argument, Toto pulls back a curtain and exposes the “Wizard” as a normal middle-aged man who has been projecting the fearsome image; he denies Dorothy’s accusation that he is a bad man, but admits to being a humbug. He then gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Lion a medal and the Tin Man a ticking heart-shaped clock, making them realize that they had what they wanted all along. They just did not know it yet. Dorothy’s home goal Toto runs off, and the balloon leaves without them. Suddenly, Glinda returns and tells her that she can still return home by using the ruby ​​slippers. After sharing a tearful farewell with her friends, Dorothy follows Glinda ‘s instructions and taps her heels together and repeats, “There’ s no place like home”. She wakes up in Kansas, surrounded by her family, the farmhands, Professor Marvel and Toto. Though they dismiss her adventure as a dream, she insists that it was all real,


  • Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
  • Frank Morgan as Marvel Professor / The Wizard / Doorman / Cabbie / Guard
  • Ray Bolger as Hunk / Scarecrow
  • Jack Haley as Hickory / Tin Man
  • Bert Lahr as Zeke / Cowardly Lion
  • Billie Burke as Glinda the Good Witch of the North
  • Margaret Hamilton as Miss Almira Gulch / Wicked Witch of the West
  • Clara Blandick as Aunt Em
  • Charley Grapewin as Uncle Henry
  • Pat Walshe as Nikko (The Winged Monkey King)
  • Terry as Toto (though credited as Toto)
  • Mitchell Lewis as the Captain Winkie Guard (credited only in the IMAX version)
  • Adriana Caselotti as the voice of Juliet in the Tinman’s song “If I only had a heart” (uncredited). quote needed ]


  • Charlie Becker as Munchkin Mayor
  • Meinhardt Raabe as Munchkin Coroner
  • Jakob “Jackie” Gerlich as Lollipop Guild / Munchkin
  • Jerry Maren as Lollipop Guild / Munchkin
  • Harry Doll Earles as Lollipop Guild / Munchkin
  • Billy Curtis as Braggart Munchkin
  • Harry Monty as Soldier / Winged Monkey
  • Mickey Carroll as Fiddler / Town Shout / Soldier
  • Karl Slover as Lead Trumpeter / Soldier / “Sleepyhead” / Villager
  • Olga C. Nardone as the Littlest Lullaby League
  • Margaret Pellegrini as “Sleepyhead”
  • Ruth Duccini as a Munchkin Villager
  • The Doll Family as Munchkin Villagers
  • The Singer Midgets as the Munchkins
  • William H. O’Docharty as Munchkin Carriage Footman


Development and pre-production

Walt Disney ‘s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), which began as Walt Disney ‘ s (1937), showed that films adapted from popular children ‘s stories and fairytale folklore could be successful. [12] [13] In January 1938, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer bought the rights to the hugely popular novel from Samuel Goldwyn , who had toyed with the idea of ​​making a film for Eddie Cantor , who was under contract to Goldwyn studios and whom Goldwyn wanted to cast the Scarecrow. [13]

The script went through a number of writers and revisions before the final shooting. [14] Mervyn LeRoy’s assistant William H. Cannon had submitted a brief four-page outline. [14] Because recent fantasy movies have not been well, it is recommended that the magical elements of the story be toned down or eliminated. In his outline, the Scarecrow was a man so much so that it was only used by the world, and the Tin Woodman was a criminal in the heart of the world. this torture softened him into someone gentle and kind. [14] His vision Was similar to Larry Semon ‘s 1925 movie adaptation of the story, in which the magical element is absent.

After that, LeRoy hired screenwriter by Herman J. Mankiewicz , who soon delivered a 17-page draft of the Kansas scenes, and a few weeks later, a further 56 pages. Noel Langley and poet Ogden Nash were also hired to write separate versions of the story. None of these three knew about the others, and this was not an uncommon procedure. Nash delivered a four-page outline, Langley turned into a 43-page treatment and a full movie script. He who? ] Turned in three more, this time Incorporating the Songs That HAD beens written by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg . Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan WoolfSubmitted a script and were brought on board. They would be responsible for making sure the story stayed true to the Baum book. However, producer Arthur Freedwas unhappy with their work and reassigned it to Langley. [15] During filming, Fleming and John Lee Mahin revised the script, adding and cutting some scenes. In addition, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr are known to have written some of their own dialogue for the Kansas sequence.

The final draft of the script was completed on October 8, 1938, following numerous rewrites. [16] All in all, it was a mish-mash of many creative minds, but Langley, Ryerson, and Woolf got the film credits. Along with the contributors already mentioned, others who are assisted by: Irving Brecher , Herbert Fields , Arthur Freed, Yip Harburg, Samuel Hoffenstein , Jack Mintz, Sid Silvers, Richard Thorpe , Cukor and Vidor. [13]

In addition, Harburg’s songwriter sound (and biographer) Ernie Harburg reported: [17]

So anyhow, Yip also wrote about the dialogue in which they wrote the part where they gave the heart, the brains, and the nerve, because he was the final script editor. And he – there was eleven screenwriters on that – and he pulled the whole thing together, wrote his own lines and gave the thing a coherence and unity which made it a work of art. But he does not get credit for that. He gets lyrics by EY Harburg, you see. But nevertheless, he put his influence on the thing.

The original producers thought that a 1939 hearing was too sophisticated to accept Oz as a straight-ahead fantasy; therefore, it was reconceived as a lengthy, elaborate dream sequence . ” The Jitterbug “, ” The Jitterbug “, ” The Jitterbug “, ” The Jitterbug “, ” The Jitterbug “, ” The Jitterbug “, ” The Jitterbug “. A spoiled, selfish princess in Oz had outlawed all forms of music except classical and operetta , and went up against the stars. This part was initially written for Betty Jaynes . [18] The plan was later dropped.

Another scene, which was removed before final script approval and never filmed, was a concluding scene back in Kansas after Dorothy’s return. Hunk (The Kansan Counterpart to the Scarecrow) is leaving for the United States. The implication of the scene is that it will eventually develop between the two, which may have been conceived as an explanation for Dorothy’s partiality for the Scarecrow over her other two companions. This plot idea was never totally dropped, but is especially noticeable in the final script when Dorothy, just before she is to leave Oz, tells the Scarecrow, “I think I’ll miss you most of all.” [19]

In his book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , Baum describes Kansas as being “in shades of gray”. Further, Dorothy lived inside a farmhouse, which had its paint blistered and washed away by the weather, giving it an air of grayness. The house and property were located in the middle of a sweeping meadow where the grass was burnt gray by harsh sun. Aunt Em and Uncle Henry were “gray with age”. Effectively, the use of monochrome sepia tones for the Kansas sequences was a stylistic choice that evoked the dull and gray countryside. quote needed ]Much attention has been given to the use of color in the production, with the MGM production crew favoring some hues over others. Therefore, it took the studio’s art department to have a good time for the final shade of yellow used for the yellow brick road. [20]


LeRoy had always insisted that he wanted to cast Judy Garland to play Dorothy from the start; however, evidence suggests that negotiations occur early in pre-production for Shirley Temple to be cast as Dorothy, on loan from 20th Century Fox . A persistent rumor also existed that Fox, in turn, was promised Clark Gable and John Harlow as a loan from MGM. The tale is almost certainly untrue, as Harlow died in 1937, before MGM had even bought the rights to the story. Despite this, the story appears in many movie biographies (including Temple’s own autobiography). The documentary The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie ClassicMervyn LeRoy was the most popular child star, but at an unofficial audition, MGM musical mainstay Roger Edens listened to her singing and felt that an actress with a different style was needed. Newsreel footage is included in that Temple wisecracks, “There’s no place like home”, suggesting that it was being considered for that time. [21] A possibility is that this consideration did indeed take place, but that Gable and Harlow were not part of the proposed deal.

Actress Deanna Durbin , who was under contract to Universal Studios , was also considered for the part of Dorothy. Durbin, at the time, far exceeded Garland in film and fan base and both had co-starred in a 1936 two-reeler titled Every Sunday . The film was most notable for exhibiting Durbin’s operatic style of singing against Garland’s jazzier style. Durbin was probably passed over to Jaynes, also an operatic singer, to rival Garland’s jazz in the aforementioned discarded subplot of the film.

Ray Bolger was originally cast as Tin Man and Buddy Ebsen was to play the Scarecrow. [16] Bolger, however, longed to play the Scarecrow, as his childhood idol Fred Stone had done on stage in 1902 ; with that very performance, Stone had inspired him to become a vaudevillian in the first place. Now unhappy with his role in the Tin Man (reportedly claiming, “I’m not a performer; I’m fluid”), Bolger decided to consume Mervyn LeRoy to recast him in the part he so desired. [22]Ebsen did not object; After he’s been back from the Scarecrow’s distinctive shoes with Bolger (he’s a professional dancer, he’s been away from the studio because he’d be up to the task of replicating the famous “wobbly-walk” of Stone’s Scarecrow), he recorded all of his songs, went through all the rehearsals and the movie, with the rest of the cast. [23]

Bert Lahr was signed for the Cowardly Lion on July 25, 1938; the next month, Charles Grapewin was cast as Uncle Henry on August 12.

WC Fields was originally chosen for the role of the Wizard, a role turned down by Ed Wynn as he thought it was too small, but the studio ran out of patience after protracted haggling over Fields’ fee; instead, another contract player, Frank Morgan , was cast on September 22.

Gale Sondergaard was originally cast as Wicked Witch. She est devenu unhappy When the witch’s persona-shifted from sly and glamorous (thought to emulate the wicked queen in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ) into the familiar “ugly hag.” She turned down the role and was replaced on October 10, 1938, by MGM contract player Margaret Hamilton . Sondergaard Said in an interview for a bonus feature on the DVD That She Had no regrets about turning down the part, and we would go to play a glamorous villain in Fox’s release of Maurice Maeterlinck ‘s The Blue Birdin 1940; Margaret Hamilton played a role remarkably similar to the Wicked Witch in the Judy Garland film Babes in Arms (1939).

According to Aljean Harmetz, the “gone-to-seed” coat worn by Morgan as the wizard was selected from a second-hand shop. According to legend, Morgan later discovered that the coat of arms was in need of Baum’s widow confirmed, and that the coat was eventually presented to her. Purpose Baum biographer Michael Patrick Hearn says the Baum family denies ever seeing the coat or knowing the story; Hamilton considered it a concocted studio rumor. [24]


Richard Thorpe as director

Filming began October 13, 1938, on the MGM lot in Culver City, California , under the direction of Richard Thorpe (replacing original director Norman Taurog , who was filmed only a few early Technicolor tests and was then reassigned). Thorpe primarily involving Dorothy’s first encounter with the Scarecrow, such as Dorothy’s rescue (which, though unreleased, included the only footage of Ebsen’s Tin Man).

According to most sources, Ebsen suffered a reaction to the aluminum powder makeup he wore. He was hospitalized in critical condition, and subsequently was forced to leave the project; In a later interview (included on the 2005 DVD release of The Wizard of Oz ), he recalls the studio heads of the hospital. Filming halted while a replacement for him was found. Tin Man has been released – only photographs taken during filming and makeup test photos. His replacement, Jack Haley , simply assumed he had been fired. [25] Author and screen-writer George MacDonald Fraser offers an alternative story, told to him byBurt Lancaster ‘s production partner, Jim Hill, that Ebsen had refused to be painted silver and was fired. [26]

George Cukor’s brief stint

LeRoy, after reviewing the footage and feeling Thorpe was rushing the production, adversely affecting the actors’ performances, had Thorpe replaced. During reorganization on the production, George Cukortaken over, under LeRoy’s guidance. Initially, the studio had made Garland wear a blond wig and heavy “baby-doll” makeup, and she played Dorothy in an exaggerated fashion; now, Cukor changed Garland ‘s and Hamilton’ s makeup and costumes, and told Garland to “be herself”. This meant that all the scenes Garland and Hamilton had already completed their discarded and reshot. Cukor also suggested that the studio cast Jack Haley, on loan from Fox, as the Tin Man. To keep down on production costs, Haley only rerecorded “If I Only Had a Heart” and solo lines during “The Jitterbug” and “If I Only Had the Nerve”; as such, Ebsen’s voice can still be heard in Tin Man in group vocals. The makeup used for Haley was quietly changed to an aluminum paste, with a layer of white clown greasepaint underneath to protect his skin; It did not have the same effect on Haley, he did not have one eye infection from it.quote needed ]

In addition, Bolger’s original recording of ” If I Only Had a Brain ” had been more widely compared to the version heard in the film; During this time, Cukor and LeRoy decided that it would be better to follow Dorothy’s initial meeting with the Scarecrow, and was rerecorded as such. At first thought to be lost for over seven decades, a recording of this original version was rediscovered in 2009. [27]

Victor Fleming, the main director

Cukor did not actually shoot any scenes for the film, just acting as a “creative advisor” to the troubled production, and, because of his prior commitment to direct Gone with the Wind , he left on November 3, 1938, when Victor Fleming assumed directorial responsibility. As director, Fleming not a film from Cukor’s creative realignment, as producer LeRoy had already pronounced his satisfaction with the film.

Production on the bulk of the Technicolor sequences was a long and cumbersome process that ran for six months, from October 1938 to March 1939. Most of the cast worked six days a week fitted with makeup and costumes, and often did not leave until 7 pm or later. Cumbersome makeup and costumes were made even more uncomfortable by the daylight-bright lighting the early Technicolor process required, which could heat the set to over 100 ° F (38 ° C). Bolger later said that the frightening nature of the costumes inhibited most of the Oz principals from eating in the studio commissary; [28] The toxicity of Hamilton’s copper-based makeup forced to eat a liquid diet on shoot days. [29] It took a long time to go down the road.

All of the Oz sequences were filmed in three-strip Technicolor. [13] [14] The opening and closing credits , as well as the Kansas sequences, were filmed in black and white and colored in a sepia-tone process. [13] Sepia-toned film was also used in the scene where Aunt Em appears in the Wicked Witch’s crystal ball.

An extensive talent search produced over a hundred little people to play Munchkins; this meant that most of the movie’s sequences would have been made before the Munchkinland sequence could begin. According to Munchkin actor Jerry Maren , the little people were paid over $ 125 a week. Meinhardt Raabe , who played the coroner, revealed in the 1990 documentary The Making of the Wizard of Oz that the MGM costume and wardrobe department, under the direction of designer Adrian , had to design over 100 costumes for the Munchkin sequences. They had to photograph each other in their costume so that they could properly apply the same costume and makeup each day of production.

In Hamilton’s exit from the Munchkinland has been concealed and has been concealed. The first take the second step in the second phase of the elevator was off; The flames set fire to her greasy makeup, second-degree burns on her hands and face. She spent six weeks in the hospital.

King Vidor ‘s finishing work as director

On February 12, 1939, Fleming hastily replaced Cukor in directing Gone with the Wind ; The next day, King Vidor was assigned as the director of the film The Wizard of Oz (mainly the Sepia-toned Kansas sequences, including Garland’s singing of ” Over the Rainbow ” and the tornado). In later years, when the film became firmly established as a classic, Fleming in 1949, Vidor thing not to take public credit for his contribution until after the death of his friend.


Principal photography concluded with the Kansas sequences on March 16, 1939; nonetheless, reshoots and pick-up shots were filmed throughout April and May and June, under the direction of producer LeRoy. After the deletion of the “Over the Rainbow” resuming the following test screenings in early June, Garland had to be one more time to reshoot the “Auntie Em, I’m frightened!” scene without the song; the footage of Blandick ‘s Aunt Em, as shot by Vidor, had already been set aside for rear – projection work, and was simply reused.

After Hamilton’s torturous experience with the Munchkinland elevator, she refused to go to the scene where she had a broomstick that billows smoke, so LeRoy thing to have stand-in Betty Danko perform the scene, instead; As a result, Danko was severely injured in the smoke mechanism. [30]

At this point, the film began long post-production arduous. Herbert Stothart had to compose the film’s background score, while A. Arnold Gillespie had a lot to do with the film. The MGM art department also had to create the various paintings for the background of many of the scenes.

One significant innovation planned for the film was the use of stencil printing for the transition to Technicolor. Each frame has been hand-tinted to maintain the sepia tone; However, because this was too expensive and labor-intensive, it has been used and simplified. During the reshoots in May, the inside of the farmhouse was painted sepia, and when Dorothy opens the door, it is not Garland, but her stand-in, Bobbie Koshay, who’s wearing a sepia gingham dress, who then backs out of frame; The Garland steps through the door, Garland steps back into a bright blue gingham dress (as noted in DVD extras), and the sepia-painted door tinted her with the same color before she emerges from the house’s shadow, into the bright glare of the Technicolor lighting. This also meant that the reshoots provided the first proper shot of Munchkinland; if one looks carefully, the brief cut to Dorothy looking at the outside of the house at a single long shot, from the inside of the doorway to the pan-around that finally ends up in a reverse-angle as the ruins of the house are seen behind Dorothy as she comes to a stop at the foot of the small bridge.

Test screenings of the movie Began on June 5, 1939. [31] Oz INITIALLY ran Nearly two hours long. LeRoy and Fleming knew that at least a quarter of an hour was needed to get the film down to a manageable running time; the average film in 1939 ran for just about 90 minutes. Three sneak previews in Santa Barbara , Pomona and San Luis Obispo, California , helped guide LeRoy and Fleming in the cutting. Among the many cuts were “The Jitterbug” number, the Scarecrow’s elaborate dance sequence following “If I Only Had a Brain”, covers of “Over the Rainbow” and ” Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead””, and a number of smaller dialogue sequences.” This left the final, mostly serious portion of the film with no songs, only the dramatic underscoring.

One song that was almost deleted was “Over the Rainbow”. MGM had felt that it was the Kansas sequence too long, the audience of children. The studio also thought it was degrading for Garland to sing in a barnyard. LeRoy, uncredited associate producer Arthur Freed and director Fleming fought to keep it in, and they all eventually won. The song went on to win the Academy Award for Best Song of the Year, and came to be identified with Garland herself that she made it her theme song. In 2004, the song was ranked no. 1 by the American Film Institute on AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Songs list.

After the preview in San Luis Obispo in early July, the film was officially released in August 1939 at its current 101-minute running time.


The film is widely noted for its musical selections and soundtrack. The music was composed by Harold Arlen , and the lyrics were written by Yip Harburg , both of whom won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow”. The song was ranked first in two lists: the AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Songs and the Recording Industry Association of America’s ” 365 Songs of the Century “.

MGM composer Herbert Stothart , a well-known Hollywood composer and songwriter, won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in recognition of his original score.

Georgie Stoll was associate conductor and screen credited to George Bassman , Murray Cutter , Ken Darby and Paul Marquardt for orchestral and vocal arrangements (as usual, Roger Edens was also heavily involved as an unbilled musical associate to Freed.)

The song “The Jitterbug”, written in a swing style, was intended for the sequence in which the group is dayning to the Witch’s castle. Due to time constraints, the song was cut from the final theatrical version. The film footage for the song has been lost, but silent home movie footage of rehearsals for the number has survived. The sound recording for the song, however, is intact and was included in the two-CD Rhino Records deluxe edition of the film soundtrack, as well as the VHS and DVD editions of the film. A reference to “The Jitterbug” remains in the film: The Witch remarks to her flying monkeys that they should have no trouble apprehending Dorothy and her friends because “I’ve got a little insect on the front of the fight out of them.”

Wicked Witch of the West was melted and before Dorothy and her friends were returned to the Wizard. This was a cover of “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” (blended with ” We’re Off to See the Wizard”and” The Merry Old Land of Oz “) with the lyrics altered to” Hail! Hail! The Witch is Dead! “This started with the Witch’s guard saying” Hail to Dorothy! The Wicked Witch Is Dead! “And a huge celebration of the citizens of the Emerald City singing the song as they accompany Dorothy and her friends to see the wizard.Today, the film of this scene is also lost and only a few stills The Rhino Record deluxe edition of the film soundtrack [32]

In addition, a brief review of “Over the Rainbow” was intended for Garland while Dorothy was trapped in the Witch’s castle, but it was considered too emotionally intense. The original soundtrack recording still exists, however, and is included in the original media releases from 1993-onwards. [33]

The songs were recorded in the studio’s scoring stage before filming. Several of the recordings were completed while Ebsen was still with the cast. Therefore, he had to be dropped from the mold of the aluminum powder makeup, his singing voice remained in the soundtrack (as noted in the notes for the CD Deluxe Edition). In the group vocals of “We’re Off to See the Wizard”, his voice can be heard. Haley spoke with a distinct Boston accent, so did not pronounce the r in wizard . By contrast, Ebsen was a Midwesterner , like Garland, and pronounced it. Haley rerecorded Ebsen’s solo parts later.

Song list

  • ” Over the Rainbow ” – Judy Garland and Dorothy Gale
  • Munchkinland Sequence:
    • “Come Out …” – Billie Burke as Glinda, and the Munchkins
    • “It Really Was No Miracle” – Judy Garland and Dorothy, Billy Bletcher and the Munchkins
    • “We love you very sweetly” – Frank Cucksey and Joseph Koziel
    • ” Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead ” – Billie Burke as Glinda (speaking) and the Munchkins
    • “As Mayor of the Munchkin City”
    • “As Coroner, I Must Aver”
    • “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” – The Munchkins
    • “The Lullaby League”
    • “The Lollipop Guild”
    • “We welcome you to Munchkinland” – The Munchkins
  • “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” – Judy Garland as Dorothy, and the Munchkins
  • ” If I Only Had a Brain ” – Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, and Judy Garland as Dorothy
  • ” We’re Off to See the Wizard ” – Judy Garland as Dorothy, and Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow
  • “If I Only Had a Heart” – Jack Haley as the Tin Man
  • “If I Only Had a Heart” ( original recording ) – Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man
  • “We’re Off to See the Wizard” – Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, and Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man
  • “If I Only Had the Nerve” – ​​Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, and Judy Garland as Dorothy
  • “We’re Off to See the Wizard” – Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man, and Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion
  • ” Optimistic Voices ” – MGM Studio Chorus
  • ” The Merry Old Land of Oz ” – Frank Morgan as Cabby, Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion and the Emerald City as townspeople
  • ” If I Were King of the Forest ” – Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow and Jack Haley as the Tin Man
  • ” The Jitterbug ” – Although this song was removed from the final film, it is still available on some of the CDs. [34]


Extensive edits in the film’s final cut-out vocals from the last portion of the film. However, the film was fully underscored , with instrumental snippets from the film’s various leitmotifs throughout. There was also some recognizable popular music, including:

  • Excerpts from Schumann’s “The Happy Farmer”, at several points early in the film, including the opening scene when Dorothy and Toto are hurrying home after their encounter with Miss Gulch, when Toto escapes from her, and when the house is “riding “the tornado.
  • An excerpt of Mendelssohn’s “Opus 16, # 2”, when Toto Escapes from the Witch’s Castle.
  • An excerpt of Mussorgsky’s ” Night on Bald Mountain “, when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are trying to escape from the Witch’s castle.
  • ” In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree “, when Dorothy and the Scarecrow discover the anthropomorphic apple trees.
  • ” Gaudeamus Igitur ” during the Wizard ‘s presentation of awards to the group.
  • ” Home Sweet Home! “, Part of the underscore of the closing scene, at Dorothy’s house in Kansas.

(The above list is excerpted from the liner notes on the Rhino Records collection.)


The film was premiered in San Bernardino, California. [35] The film was previewed in three test markets : on August 11, 1939, at Kenosha, Wisconsin and Cape Cod, Massachusetts , [36] [37] and at the Strand Theater in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin , on August 12. [38] ]

The Hollywood Premiere was on August 15, 1939, [37] at Grauman’s Chinese Theater . [39] The New York City premiere, held at Loew’s Capitol Theater on August 17, 1939, was followed by a live performance with Garland and his frequent film co-star Mickey Rooney . They continued to perform for a week, extended in Rooney’s box for a second week and in Garland’s to three (with Oz co-stars Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr replacing Rooney for the third and final week). The film opened nationwide on August 25, 1939.

Box office

According to MGM records, during the film’s initial release, it earned $ 2,048,000 in the US and Canada and $ 969,000 in other countries worldwide, resulting in total earnings of $ 3,017,000. While these were considerable earnings, the high production cost, in association with various distribution and other costs, meant that the movie was initially recorded at a loss of $ 1,145,000 for the studio. [3] It did not show what MGM considered a profit until a 1949 rerelease earned an additional $ 1.5 million (about $ 15 million today). However, for all the risks and costs that MGM undertook to produce the film, it was considered at least more successful than anyone thought it would be. According to Christopher Finch, author of the Judy Garland Rainbow biography : The Stormy Life Of Judy Garland, “Fantasy is always a risk at the box office.” The film had been enormously successful as a book, and it had also been a major stage hit, but previous attempts to bring the screen had been dismal failures. Finch also writes that after the success of the film, Garland signed a new contract with MGM giving her a substantial increase in salary, making her one of the top ten box office stars in the United States. [40]


The film received a lot of acclaim upon its release. Frank Nugent regarded the film “delightful piece of wonder-working qui Had the youngsters’ eyes shining and Brought has quietly amused gleam to the wiser ones of the oldsters. Not since Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs HAS anything quite so fantastic succeeded half so well. ” [41] Nugent had issues with some of the film’s special effects, writing, “With the best of will and ingenuity, they may not make a munchkin or a flying monkey that will not still suggest, but vaguely, a Singer’s Midget in a Jack Dawnmasquerade. Nor can they, without a few betraying jolts and split-screen overlappings, bring down from the sky the great soap bubble in which Glinda wrinkles and roll it smoothly into place. “According to Nugent,” Judy Garland’s Dorothy is a pert and fresh- With the wonder-bed the eyes of a believer in fairy tales, the Baum fantasy is at its best when the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion are on the move. ” [41]

Writing in Variety , John C. Flinn predicted that the film was “likely to perform some record-breaking feats of box office magic,” noting, “Some of the scenic passages are so beautiful in design and composition as to hear audiences by their sheer unfoldment. ” He also called Garland “an appealing figure” and the musical numbers “gay and bright.” [42]

Harrison’s reports wrote, “Even though some people are not interested in this type of picture, it is possible that they will be eager to see this picture just for its technical treatment. Pictures of this caliber bring credit to the industry. ” [43]

Film Daily wrote:

Leo the Lion is one of the most famous people in the world. He is so successful in his approach to fantasy and extravaganza through the flesh-and-blood … handsomely With its wealth of humor and homespun philosophy, its stimulus to the imagination, its procession of unforgettable settings, its studding of merry tunes should click solidly at the box office. [44]

Not all reviews were positive. Some moviegoers felt that the 16-year-old Garland was somewhat too old to play the little girl who Baum originally intended his Dorothy to be. Russell Maloney of The New Yorker wrote that the film showed “no trace of imagination, good taste, or ingenuity” and declared it “a stinkeroo,” [45] while Otis Ferguson of The New Republic wrote, “It has dwarfs, music, Technicolor, Freak Characters, and Judy Garland, It’s not expected to have a sense of humor, and it’s a bit of humor. [46] Still, the film seventh on Film Daily ‘The year-end nationwide poll of 542 critics naming the best films of 1939. [47]

Roger Ebert , ” The Wizard of Oz has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects and excitement, but we still watch it. of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them. ” [48]

Writer Salman Rushdie acknowledged ” The Wizard of Oz was my very first literary influence” in his 2002 musings about the movie. [49] He has written: “When I first saw The Wizard of Oz , it was a writer of me.” [50] His first short story, written at the age of 10, was titled “Over the Rainbow”. [50]

In a 2009 retrospective article about the movie, San Francisco Chronicle movie critic and author Mick LaSalle declared that the film’s “entire Munchkinland sequence, from Dorothy’s arrival in Oz to her departure on the yellow brick road, has to be one of the greatest in cinema history – a masterpiece of set design, costuming, choreography, music, lyrics, storytelling, and sheer imagination. ” [51]

On the movie critic aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes , the movie HAS year approval rating of 99% based are 109 reviews, with an average score of 9.4 / 10. The site’s critical consensus reads, “An absolute masterpiece in which groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see movie for young and old.” [52] At Metacritic , which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film received the maximum score of 100 out of 100, based on 4 reviews, indicating “universal acclaim”, [53] which, as of August 2017, is matched only by five other films.


Although the 1949 reissue used in the original release, beginning with the 1955 re-issue, and continuing until the film’s 50th anniversary VHS release in 1989, these opening Kansas sequences were shown in black and white instead of the sepia tone originally printed. (This includes television showings.) [54]

The MGM “Children’s Matinees” series rereleased the film twice, in both 1970 and 1971. [55] It was for this release that the film received a rating from the MPAA.

For the movie’s then-upcoming 60th anniversary, Warner Bros. Pictures released on “Special Edition” on November 6, 1998, digitally restored with remastered audio.

In 2002, the film had a very limited re-release in US theaters, earning only $ 139,905. [56]

On September 23, 2009, the film was released for the second time in its 70th anniversary and is scheduled for release in the future. An encore of this event was released in theaters on November 17, 2009. [57]

An IMAX 3D theatrical re-release played at 300 theaters in North America for one week only beginning September 20, 2013, as part of the movie’s 75th anniversary. [58] Warner Bros. spent $ 25 million on advertising. The studio hosted a premiere of the movie’s first IMAX 3D release on September 15, 2013, from the newly remodeled TCL Chinese Theater (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the site of the movie’s Hollywood premiere) in Hollywood. It was the first to play at the new theater and served as the grand opening of Hollywood’s first 3D IMAX screen. It was also featured as a special presentation at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival . [59]This re-release grossed $ 5.6 million at the North American box office. [60]

In 2013, in preparation for its IMAX 3D release, the film was submitted again to the MPAA for re-classification. According to MPAA rules, a film that has been submitted for re-classification, as the 3-D conversion fell within that guideline. Surprisingly, the 3D version received a rating for “Some scary moments”, but no change was made to the film’s original story content. The 2D version still retains its G rating. [61]

The movie was rereleased on January 11 and 14, 2015, as part of the “TCM Presents” series by Turner Classic Movies . [62]


Main article: The Wizard of Oz on television

The film was first shown on television on November 3, 1956, by CBS , as the last installment of the Ford Star Jubilee . [63]

Home media

The film was among the first videocassettes (on both VHS and Betamax format for the 1980 release) by MGM / CBS Home Video in 1980; [64] all current home video releases are by Warner Home Video (via current rights holder Turner Entertainment ). The first LaserDisc release of it was in 1982, with two versions of a second (one from Turner and one from The Criterion Collection with a commentary track) for the 50th anniversary release in 1989, a third in 1991, a fourth in 1993, LaserDisc release on September 11, 1996. [65]

Prior to the wide-home-video release in 1980, the film was also released on the market (on a limited scale) on Super 8 film ( 8 mm format) during the 1970s. These releases include an edited version (roughly 10 minutes, and roughly 20 minutes), as well as Spanish versions of the classic. Also, a full commercial release of it was made on Super 8 (on multiple reels) that came out in the 1970s, as well, for the commercial market. [66]

In addition to VHS (and later, LaserDisc), the film was released in the 1980s on the Betamax format, beginning in 1980 with the VHS release. [67]

The film was released for the first time only on the CED format in 1982 by MGM / UA Home Video. [68]

Outside of the North American and European markets, the film has been released multiple times on the CD format since the 1990s in Asia. [69]

The first DVD was released on March 26, 1997 by MGM / Turner. It was re-released by Warner Bros. for its 60th anniversary on October 19, 1999, with its soundtrack presented in a new 5.1 surround sound mix. The monochrome-to-color transition was more smoothly accomplished by digitally keeping the inside of the house in monochrome while Dorothy and the Munchkinland reveal are in color. clarification needed ] The DVD also contained a behind-the-scenes documentary, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic , produced in 1990 and hosted by Angela Lansbury, which was originally shown on television immediately following the 1990 telecast of the film; it had been featured in the 1993 “Ultimate Oz” LaserDisc release. Outtakes, the “Jitterbug” musical number, clips from pre-1939 Oz adaptations, trailers, newsreels, and a portrait gallery were also included, as well as publicizing the film.

In 2005, two DVD editions were released, both featuring a newly restored version of the film with an audio commentary and an isolated music and effects track. One of the two DVD releases was a “Two-Disc Special Edition”, featuring production documentaries, trailers, various outtakes, newsreels, radio shows and still galleries. The other set, a “Three-Disc Collector’s Edition”, included these features, 80th-anniversary edition of the 1925 feature-length silent movie version of The Wizard of Oz , other silent Oz adaptations and a 1933 animated short version.

The film was released on Blu-ray on September 29, 2009, for its 70th anniversary in a four-disc “Ultimate Collector’s Edition”, including all the bonus features from the 2005 Collector’s Edition DVD, new bonus features Victor Fleming and the Surviving Munchkins, the telefilm The Dreamer of Oz: The Frank Baum Story L. , and the miniseries MGM: When the Lion Roars . For this edition, Warner commissioned a new transfer at 8K resolution from the original negative film. The restoration job was given to Prime Focus World. [70] This restored version also features a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio lossless track. [71]A DVD version was also released as a Two-Disc Special Edition and a Five-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition. quote needed ]

On December 1, 2009, citation needed ] three Blu-ray discs of the Ultimate Collector’s Edition were repackaged as “Emerald Edition”, with an Emerald Four-disc DVD issue arriving the following week. A Blu-ray single-disc, containing the restored movie and all the special features of the two-disc DVD Special Edition, also became available on March 16, 2010. citation needed ]

In 2013, the film was re-released on DVD, Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray and UltraViolet for the 90th anniversary of Warner Bros. and as part of its 75th anniversary. [58] [72]

Also, multiple special editions were released in celebration of the film’s 75th anniversary in 2013, by Best Buy (a SteelBook of 3D Blu-ray) and another version released by Target Stores. [73] [74]

Awards and honors

Academy Awards

Award Date of ceremony Category Container Outcome
Academy Awards [75] February 29, 1940 Best Picture Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Nominated
Best Cinematography, Color Harold Rosson
Best Art Direction Cedric Gibbons and William A. Horning
Best Effects, Special Effects Arnold Gillespie and Douglas Shearer
Best Music, Original Score Herbert Stothart Won
Best Music, Original Song ” Over the Rainbow ”
Music by Harold Arlen ; Lyrics by EY Harburg
Academy Juvenile Award Judy Garland
For her outstanding performance as a juvenile screen during the past year. (She was jointly awarded for her performances in Babes in Armsand The Wizard of Oz ).

American Film Institute lists

The American Film Institute (AFI) has compiled various lists which include this film or elements thereof.

  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies – No. 6
  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Thrills – No. 43
  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Heroes & Villains :
    • Wicked Witch of the West – No. 4 villain
  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Songs :
    • ” Over the Rainbow ” – No. 1
    • ” Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead ” – No. 82
  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes :
    • “Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” (Dorothy Gale) – No. 4
    • “There’s no place like home.” (Dorothy) – No. 23
    • “I’ll get you, my pretty – and your little dog, too!” (Wicked Witch of the West) – No. 99
  • AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals – No. 3
  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Cheers – No. 26
  • AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) – No. 10
  • AFI’s 10 Top 10 – No. 1 Fantasy movie[76]

Other honors

  • 1999: Rolling Stone ‘ s 100 Maverick Movies – No. 20. [77]
  • 1999: Entertainment Weekly ‘ s 100 Greatest Movies – No. 32. [78]
  • 2000 The Village Voice ‘ s 100 Best Films of the 20th Century – No. 14. [79]
  • 2002 Sight & Sound ‘ s Greatest Film of Directors Poll – No. 41. [80]
  • 2005: Total Film ‘ s 100 Greatest Movies – No. 83. [81]
  • 2005: ranked among the top ten of the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14 . [82]
  • 2007: Total Film ‘ s 23 Weirdest Movies – No. 1. [83]
  • 2007: The Observer ranked the film’s songs and music at the top of the list of 50 greatest film soundtracks. [84]

Differences from the novel

Roughly 40 identifiable major differences exist between the original book and the MGM interpretation. [85] [86]

Sequels and reinterpretations

Main article: Adaptations of The Wizard of Oz

The film was dramatized on a one-hour radio play on Lux Radio Theater , which was broadcast on December 25, 1950, with Garland reprising her earlier role. In 1964, one-hour animated cartoon called Expired Return to Oz Was shown as an afternoon weekend special is NBC. citation needed ] An official 1972 sequel , the animated Journey Back to Oz starring Liza Minnelli , daughter of Garland, was produced to commemorate the original film’s 35th anniversary. [87]

In 1975, the stage show The Wiz premiered on Broadway . It was an African American version of The Wizard of Oz reworked for the stage. It starred Stephanie Mills and other Broadway stars and earned a number of Tony Awards. Its financing Was handled by actor Geoffrey Holder . Its after-inspired revivals it left the internship year and unsuccessful motion picture made in 1978 starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. quote needed ]

In 1985, Walt Disney Productions released the live-action fantasy film Return to Oz , which starred (and introduced) Fairuza Balk as a young Dorothy Gale. [88] Based on the Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) and Ozma of Oz (1907), it was far less poorly with critics that were unfamiliar with the Oz books and was not successful at the box office. popular cult film , with a lot of loyalty and faithful adaptation of what L. Frank Baum envisioned. [89] [90]

In 1995, Gregory Maguire published the novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West , which was adapted to the wildly successful Broadway musical Wicked . The story describes the life of the Wicked Witch of the West and other events prior to Dorothy’s arrival. quote needed ]

For the film’s 56th anniversary, a 1987 stage show also titled The Wizard of Oz was based on the book by L. Frank Baum. It toured from 1995 to 2012, except for 2004. citation needed ]

In 2005, The Muppets Studio produced The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz , a television movie for ABC , starring Ashanti as Dorothy, Jeffrey Tambor as the Wizard, David Alan Grier as Uncle Henry, and Queen Latifah as Aunt Em. Kermit the Frog portrayed the Scarecrow, Gonzo portrayed the Tin Thing (Tin Man), Fozzie Bear portrayed the Lion and Miss Piggy portrayed all the Witches of the West, East, North and South. quote needed ]

In 2007, The Sci-Fi Channel released the three-part miniseries Tin Man , a science fiction starring continuation Zooey Deschanel as DG.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote a musical course of the Sámi name , qui ouvert en 2011 at the West End ‘ s London Palladium . Lloyd Webber and Rice. Lloyd Webber also found Danielle Hope to play Dorothy on the reality show, Over the Rainbow . Another production opened in December 2012 at the Ed Mirvish Theater in Toronto. [91] A reality TV show, also titled Over the Rainbow , found a Canadian girl, Danielle Wade, to play Dorothy. [92] [93]The Canadian production then began at North American tour in September 2013. [94] An Australian tour will begin at the Lyric Theater, Queensland Performing Arts Center in November 2017, followed by a season at the Capitol Theater, Sydney beginning December 2017. [95] ]

An animated film called Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz was released in 2011 by Warner Home Video, incorporating Tom and Jerry into the story as Dorothy’s “protectors”. [96] A titled sequel Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz was released on DVD on June 21, 2016. [97]

Writer-director Hugh Gross’s independent film After the Wizard , produced in 2010, relates events after those of the film. It was released on DVD on August 7, 2012. citation needed ]

In 2013, Walt Disney Pictures released a spiritual prequel titled, Oz the Great and Powerful . It was directed by Sam Raimi , and starred James Franco , Mila Kunis , Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams . It was the second film based on Baum’s Oz series to be produced by Disney, after Return to Oz . It was a commercial success and received a mixed critical reception. [98] [99]

In 2014, now-defunct independent film company Clarius Entertainment released a big-budget animated musical movie, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return , [100] which follows Dorothy’s second trip to Oz. The film was a box officeand unmemorable musical numbers.

Cultural impact

Regarding the original Baum storybook, it has been said that ” The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is America’s greatest and best-loved home grown fairytale.The first totally American fantasy for children, it is one of the most-read children’s books … and American attributes, including a wizard from Omaha, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has universal appeal. ” [101]

The film was also considered “culturally significant” by the United States Library of Congress , which selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1989. In June 2007, the film was listed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register . [102] The movie Placed at number 86 we Congratulations ‘ s The 100 Scariest Movie Moments . [103] In 1977, Aljean Harmetz wrote The Making of The Wizard of Oz , a detailed description of the film’s creation based on interviews and research; it was updated in 1989. [104]

Ruby slippers

Main article: Ruby slippers

Because of their iconic stature, [105] the ruby ​​slippers worn by Judy Garland in the movie are now among the most treasured and valuable film memorabilia in movie history. [106] The silver slippers that Dorothy wore in the book series were changed to ruby ​​to take advantage of the new Technicolor process. Adrian , MGM’s chief costume designer, was responsible for the final design. A number of peers have been made, but no one knows exactly how many.

After filming, the slippers were stored among the studio’s extensive collection of costumes and faded from attention. They were found in the basement of MGM’s wardrobe department during preparations for a mammoth auction in 1970. One year was the highlight of the auction, going for a while of $ 15,000 to an anonymous buyer, who apparently donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1979 Four other peers are known to exist; one sold for $ 666,000 at auction in 2000. Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota and remains missing. [107]

Another Debbie Reynolds for $ 510,000 (not including the buyer ‘s premium) in June 2011. [108]

Impact upon LGBT culture

For information on the film’s impact on LGBT culture in America, see Friend of Dorothy .

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